With Mount Seymour skiing only five minutes to the north and downtown Vancouver only 10 minutes to the south, Northlands offers some spectacular mountain terrain and great views — and only minutes away for many Lower Mainland golfers. A municipally owned course run by the District of North Vancouver, it opened in 1997 and offers affordable green fees and some very challenging shots.
This is a course where most golfers either love it, or would rather go hike Mount Everest. It can be narrow and difficult like holes 7 and 15, and it has some steep elevation changes that can require two, three or more clubs, like the par-five 18th. However, much of the course plays in the valley, and these holes offer up very enjoyable shot-making chances and potential birdie opportunities, like holes 2, 10 and 17. The greens are small and undulating, but considering the mountain weather and the number of rounds played on the course, they are usually in great shape.
The clubhouse has great food and offers a spectacular deck to soak up the sunshine, gaze over Vancouver and watch the golfers struggle up number 18. There isn’t a driving range on site, but you can visit Seymour Creek or Takaya ranges, both of which are within a five-minute drive. There are also two good putting greens, a practice bunker and warm-up net.
Northlands is definitely worth the challenge. It’s not overly long, but because of the elevation changes, it plays longer than the scorecard indicates. Pick the right tees, hit it straight and you’ll enjoy it. If you want to lose a few pounds it’s a great walk, but if you need to have two dozen balls in your bag, you might want to take a cart.
5,135 yards to 6,504 yards; par 71
Awards: “Best New Course,” Golf Digest
For details, visit www.golfnorthlands.com